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Diabetes Blogweek 2016; Day 4 – The Healthcare Experience

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“Most people who live with a chronic illness end up with a lot of experience when it comes to dealing with healthcare. How would you improve or change your healthcare experience? What would you like to see happening during medical visits with your healthcare team? How about when dealing with your health insurance companies? What’s your Healthcare Wish List or Biggest Frustration? Today is the day to share it all!”

For the sake of brevity I am going to just have a few bullet comments today.  These are a few things I’d like to see changed (mostly insurance related):

  • I have Type 1 diabetes.  My pancreas isn’t going to suddenly start producing insulin.  Why, oh why, do I have to keep getting new referrals to continue to see my endocrinologist.
  • The insurance company establishes guidelines for qualification for CGM coverage.  What they consider qualifying is basically equals really out of range A1c’s – either too high or too low.  How does that make sense to deny a patient continuing coverage once they maintain a reasonable A1c using a CGM?
  • I’m not retirement/medicare age yet but it will be here all too soon.  We all will eventually and so it makes sense for us all to get behind this Medicare & CGMS bill.  Thanks to Colleen of D-Meanderings for bringing that to my attention in her post Wednesday.

 

Diabetes Blogweek 2016; Day 3 – Happy Hamster Hunting!

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“There is an old saying that states “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I’m willing to bet we’ve all disagreed with this at some point, and especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. For some, they don’t care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”, or “checking” blood sugar versus “testing”, or any of the tons of other examples? Let’s explore the power of words, but please remember to keep things respectful.”

I haven’t had much time to put together any clear thoughts on today’s topic.  I was, however, able to read a few of the other posts.

Colleen from D-Meanderings was the first post that I read and I really could identify with her opening sentence.  She also brought up topic of Medicare & CGMS which is worth a look.  Link here.

During my attempts to fill out the personalize-this-message section of the JRDF’s contact your senator form I wrote two paragraphs.  One which I included and one which I deleted at the last minute.  I didn’t think the deleted paragraph appropriate there but though the DOC might get a chuckle.

Here is what I wrote:

I currently am using CGM technology and would like to add that using a continuous glucose monitor is essential to getting a clearer picture of how the insulin therapy is working. No two persons are alike in their responses to insulin or the myriad of other factors that effect blood sugar values. Using a CGM is the only way to really understand how your body reacts to different foods, stress, exercise, and sickness.

Not using a CGM would be like trying to capture your pet hamster in a darkened room full of furniture where you are allowed to turn on the light for only two seconds at a time and must wait at least two hours between each lighting with a maximum of six times per day.

Happy Hamster Hunting and Good Night Then!

Diabetes Blog Week 2016; Day 2 – The Other Half

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We think a lot about the physical component of diabetes, but the mental component is just as significant. How does diabetes affect you or your loved one mentally or emotionally? How have you learned to deal with the mental aspect of the condition? Any tips, positive phrases, mantras, or ideas to share on getting out of a diabetes funk? (If you are a caregiver to a person with diabetes, write about yourself or your loved one or both!)

Just Add Whipped Cream!

Whipped cream can do wonders for your psyche.  It’s fun.  It cascades into vast piles of fluffy perfection with just one touch of the nozzle.  It’s light.  It looks like a cottony white cloud on a perfect summer day.  It’s happiness in a can.  Just watch the people coming out of your local Starbucks with beverages bedecked in creamy dreamy sublimity.  They’re smiling.

AND…according to the Calorie King website, it is a mere 0.4g carbohydrates per tablespoon.

Just Add Whipped Cream!

(My daughter just glanced at the screen and said, “Wait;  what?  Are you OK Mom?”)

OK.  Then consider the following picture:

The vial on the right is:

a.  half empty.

b.  half full.

c.  obviously just refilled with water to take this photo since no PWD would actually have a full vial out of the refrigerator if there was an already opened vial.

Yes, I’m going there.  For me it is all about perspective.  That’s not to say I’m always a half full kind of gal.  But it does help me to try to find a bright side;  a silver lining;  a half full vial.

Today’s topic isn’t about the day-to-day though.  It’s about how to cope when you don’t want to cope any more;  how to find a way out of the Diabetes Funk.

Tricks for coping?  I suppose I just allow the funk to happen.

I blog about it.  I have to confess that this blog is not only about giving back to the DOC by sharing my experiences.  It’s also a way for me to wrap my head around it all.

I laugh about it.  For example, I prefer to use the acronym BS when referring to my glucose levels.  I giggle to hear my daughter reminding me not to say “I’m high right now” in public.  Thankfully not a phrase I ever had to think about before Diabetes.

I paint it.  I have my resident artists help me paint my pods.  When my oldest daughter asked me what to paint this last time I flippantly replied, “elbows.”  Yep, you guessed it, I sported an elbow on my next pod.

I live it and move on.  To get caught up in self recriminations is counter productive.  It’s OK to be not OK.  It’s also OK to focus on something else when you just can’t think about diabetes for another moment.

And, it’s OK sometimes to…

Just Add Whipped Cream!  Cheers!

Diabete Blog Week 2016; Day 1 – Message Monday

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“Lets kick off the week by talking about why we are here, in the diabetes blog space. What is the most important diabetes awareness message to you? Why is that message important for you, and what are you trying to accomplish by sharing it on your blog?”

The prompt started me thinking about the etymology of message.  We all know what that word means in context but I was curious and a little bit distracted as I tried to think of the diabetes awareness message that is most important to me.  The short answer, after getting utterly sidetracked, is as follows:

You are not alone!

I am here, in the diabetes blog space because I wanted to share my experiences.  I have found solace in reading other blogs and hoped that by giving voice to my experiences someone else may find the same.  This blog space, the Diabetes Online Community, is the “message” that so many of us need.

As far as sending a message for advocacy to those not touched by Diabetes, I am conflicted.  There are so many misconceptions that are perpetuated by the media, medical professionals, marketing companies, etc. that you will encounter as a diabetic.  At the very least those in the medical profession should know the difference between types and treatments.  I get that medicine is very specialized these days but a little better overlap would at least ensure that the right treatment is provided for the patient.  Certainly the patient blame game isn’t helpful to anyone involved!

I have to say that I am a bit more forgiving of the lack of understanding diabetes by the Non-D folk.  I mean, if I had to option not to think about diabetes ever again that would be just fine with me.  Imagine a world where we had no reason to blog about diabetes…

Maybe one day.

Until then, thank you DOC for being here.  Thank each and every one of you participating in this year’s Blog Week for providing that voice, that message, that advocacy.  You are unique in your Diabetes but…

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

 

I Don’t Want To! I Don’t Have To! I’m Not Going To! You Can’t Make Me!

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In our family, my sister-in-law is famous for the phrase that is the title of this post.  According to my husband, it was her mantra.  She was gonna do it her way come what may.  That fortitude, while challenging to her parents while growing up, has served her well.  She has grown up to become an outstanding person both professionally and personally.  Her childhood motto still comes to mind when we are facing things that we just don’t want to do.  For instance, tonight I brushed my teeth, washed my face, slipped into my nightie and, finally, tested to calibrate my Dexcom.  75.  Huh?!  A glance at the Dexcom showed 77 which is why I didn’t hear an alarm.  I have it set to 75.  I surely didn’t feel a single hypo symptom.  In fact, of late, I don’t really feel my lows much at all.  Earlier today my Dexcom alarmed when I was almost finished brushing out the dog.  I had just taken a long walk so it was not surprise to be a bit low so I decided to try to finish up before grabbing a snack.  Two brushes later my heart started to pound and I felt a bit funny.  I put down the brush and checked the Dexcom.  75.  Arrow down.  Ok.  I decided to test as well.  54.  That would explain the strange feeling.  Luckily I was looking forward to eating a little something then.  But tonight?  Tonight I was not in the least bit interested in traipsing down the stairs and hunting up something to raise but not skyrocket my BS.  I found myself chanting to myself with each tread, “I don’t want to, I don’t have to, I’m not going to….you can’t make me.”  I surely wasn’t interested in glucose tablets.  Chocolate – too slow and later too high.  Marshmallows – too sticky and not at all appealing.  Ginger cookies bought for the purpose – too filling and crunchy.  I didn’t want anything sweet!  Finally I happened upon jarred grapefruit in light syrup.  I did the trick nicely without leaving me feel like I had just eaten rocks.  When all was said and done, I trudged back up the stairs to re-brush my teeth.  My sugar was back up and my attitude much improved at the thought of finally slipping between the sheets.

Still, there are just those moments, no matter your age, when you just have to vent; “I don’t want to, I don’t have to, I’m not going to, you can’t make me…”

So there Diabetes!

Lucky You, Lucky Me

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 It’s March and that always brings to mind visions of dancing leprechauns and four-leaf clovers.  The anticipation of spring is seen and felt by all.  There are buds on the tree outside my bathroom window and the eager daffodils push their buds ever upward despite the chilly nights.  The temperature has been a perfect 60 degrees F of late.  My son and I were able to watch a beautiful sunset while shooting some hoops (ok, admittedly I was more focused on the painted sky which would explain in part why he so thoroughly beat me).

Tomorrow I have my second appoint with my new Endo and although I don’t think my A1C will be where I want it to be, I feel optimistic about my new focus and steps towards bringing it back to a place I want it to be.

So here’s to hope and the promise of spring.  I had a friend comment to me once that in a way I was lucky because I had medical reason that I had to take care of myself and eat more carefully (not that she thought it was a good thing to have Diabetes) and that she wished she could find that kind of motivation to stick to a healthier diet and exercise routine.  I suppose that’s one way to look at it.  And, since all I really have the option to choose at this point is how I choose to look at things…Lucky you, Lucky ME!

Tell Me Something New

In the pursuit of healthy living/better A1c’s I have been trying to gravitate toward more whole foods.  Paleo. Low Carb. Gluten Free.  Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution book.  These are all a part of the things I have read and considered.  Recently I found a blog whose emphasis is cutting out processed foods so I decided to sign up for the e-newsletter.  I finally got around to checking my email this morning and imagine my surprise to read that most olive oil available in the US is actually flavored canola.  I have largely stopped using canola based on the things I’ve read relating to the changes it undergoes when heated.  So, in the spirit of due diligence, I decided to google the latest news to see if olive oil has been making headlines of late.  Which is where I came across this article about the benefits of olive for those with type 1.  And this article about the benefits for those with type 2.

Such is the nature of google research.  You get a myriad of information to sift through.  I read the first and skimmed the second article.  I get it.  Olive oil is good for you.  Or would be if you could get actual olive oil.  It appears that there have been issues with oils sold here in the US passed off as authentic Italian or Extra Virgin that are really neither.  And those two studies regarding DM and olive oil?  The first test done in Naples, Italy used 13 test subjects.  Really?  The second article by the Olive Oil Times references several studies from respectable sounding institutions using enough medical sounding terms in their presentation to lend credence to their claims.  Further articles I read talked about a fungus which affected the Italian olive crops this year leading to a recent 20% increase in prices and the consumers in the United States who expect the lower prices that the fake olive oils provide.  Supply and demand.  Clearly the demand for olive oil will suffer in the face of this recent news.  Maybe.  Or maybe it will lead to people buying higher priced oils in the hopes that they are actually what they claim to be on the label.

So what is my bottom-line-take-away in all of this?  We have no idea where our food really and truly comes from or what it is that we are actually eating.  We try to make informed decisions based on all of the information coming our way with the caveat that the information we read usually comes from someone who benefits in some way from influencing our decisions.  This extends to our medications as well.  The best we can do is to continually educate ourselves while questioning the sources of the information and cross referencing when possible.

On the one hand, we are fortunate that all of this information is available to sift through.  In this digital age we have quicker means of gathering information when a bottle of “snake oil” is placed before us.

On the other hand, there is nothing new under the sun.